Islamic Architecture and Arch


  • Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman President, SEARCH Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada



The arch, an essential architectural element since the early civilizations, permitted the construction of lighter walls and vaults, often covering a large span. Visually it was an important decorative feature that was trans-mitted from architectural decoration to other forms of art worldwide. In early Islamic period, Muslims were receiving from many civilizations, which they improved and re-introduced to bring about the Renaissance. Arches appeared in Mesopotamia, Indus, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Assyrian civilizations; but the Romans applied the technique to a wide range of structures. The Muslims mastered the use and design of the arch, employed for structural and functional purposes, progressively meeting decorative and symbolic pur-poses. Islamic architecture is characterized by arches employed in all types of buildings; most common uses being in arcades. This paper discusses the process of assimilation and charts how they contributed to other civilizations.


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